Sticks and Stones...

This morning's paper brings some curious news. The poet and university professor Luis García Montero has just been found guilty of having insulted his departmental colleague, José Antonio Fortes. Wow, if what goes on at American universities ended up in courts of law then we would have true judicial gridlock! Just a little context: García Montero is a very well known, politically left, contemporary poet. He's also published several books of criticism and essays. He teaches in the department of Spanish Literature at the University of Granada. His colleague Fortes has argued in published articles that the writings of famous poet Federico García Lorca were fascist. Remember, we're talking about Lorca, the major saint of the romantic left and the most famous of all modern Spanish poets, assassinated in Granada by the Falange at the start of the Spanish Civil War. The notion that Lorca in any way had fascist leanings is patently ridiculous. (From the little I've read, Fortes writes with an anachronistic Marxist mumbo jumbo that could get a laugh out of your coffee table.) Well, apparently a couple of years ago García Montero lost his cool and let go with some standard insults after a department meeting. Ouch! He then followed that up with an article published in El País in which he questioned Fortes' mental stability and level of intelligence. Now, could someone sue me in the US just for hurling horrible insults? I suppose so. But what if your insults have a real basis in reality? Could calling someone a stupid ass, for example, lead you to a court date? My mother taught me about "sticks and stones" at a very young age. Good lesson, mom! The judge's sentence was quite interesting.  He wrote that although García Montero pidió disculpas (basically, that he recognized he had been wrong), both orally and in writing, that was insufficient, and he would have had to have begged forgiveness for his insults. Strange. Also strange: the sentence suggests that, as a highly regarded poet and university professor, García Montero should have known better. Does this imply that the same insults from an uneducated low life would receive a more indulgent treatment?  And if so, is that a bad thing? In any case, the poet was fined ten euros a day for six months plus three thousand additional euros for "moral injury", daños morales. Oh well, meanwhile, Fortes is free to continue lecturing and writing his nonsensical hogwash. No wonder Luis wants a break from the university. (In the photo, García Montero.) 

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